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Launch of two housing inclusion projects

Wednesday 27 September 2023

The Ministry of Housing, the Fondation Cécile Ginter and Caritas Luxembourg are working together to develop two affordable housing projects in Michelau and Stolzembourg, giving vulnerable families and individuals access to housing while providing appropriate social support.

On 27 September 2023, the Minister for Housing, Henri KOX, the President of the Fondation Cécile Ginter, François JACOBS, the Vice-President of the Fondation Cécile Ginter, Marcel OBERWEIS, the President of Caritas Luxembourg, Marie-Josée JACOBS and the President of Caritas Accueil et Solidarité, Pit BOUCHÉ, signed two collaboration agreements to ensure the realisation of the housing projects "Am Wangert" in Michelau and "Muehlenpesch" in Stolzembourg. In both cases, the land belongs to the state and will be made available under a long lease for at least 50 years. The rehabilitation of the sites and the construction of the homes will be supported to the level of 75% by the "Aides à la Pierre" programme of the Ministry of Housing. Caritas Luxembourg will act as a specialised social housing provider to offer people prospects for inclusion and reintegration.

At this stage, 40 housing units are planned for the "Am Wangert" project in Michelau and 18 for the "Muehlenpesch" project in Stolzembourg.

In this partnership, the Fondation Cécile Ginter will act as a social promoter and monitor the planning and implementation of the new buildings. This partnership has been made possible by the law on affordable housing, passed on 21 July 2023, which establishes the possibility for different players to play a part in the creation of affordable housing and clarifies the roles of the various players and the responsibility they will assume on the part of the State. As a result, the State will compensate the social housing provider for any management costs that are not covered by the income from tenants' rents.

"I am delighted with this innovative partnership between the State and the social players, which gives vulnerable people access to an affordable home. A roof over your head provides stability, security and dignity! This is the starting point for all efforts to include and reintegrate people who have suffered accidents in their lives, who are vulnerable and marginalised. It is, after all, the central objective of our National Strategy for Affordable Housing and the Right to Housing," noted the Minister for Housing, Henri Kox, at the signing of the collaboration agreements.

"The Fondation Cécile Ginter was entrusted by its benefactor, Madame Cécile Ginter, with the mission of combating poverty. In Luxembourg, it is the lack of affordable housing that prevents many individuals and families from living in dignity. This is why the Fondation Cécile Ginter has been focusing on the construction of affordable rental housing for a number of years, and why it is delighted to be launching these two new projects today," emphasises François Jacobs, Chairman of the Fondation Cécile Ginter.

"The two projects we have just launched will be a bridge to independent living for many people who are currently in our emergency accommodation facilities and who are having difficulty getting out of the emergency situation because of a lack of affordable housing," says Marie-Josée Jacobs.

LOW-THRESHOLD HOUSING PROJECT IN MICHELAU

In Michelau, Caritas Luxembourg - with the support of the municipality of Bourscheid - has been running a shelter for very vulnerable people, often with a history of homelessness, for several years now. This facility, which is run as an annex to the Centre Ulysse of Bonnevoie, is located on the site of a former campsite on the Ösling hills in Michelau. However, the site was up for sale and the chalets, which were several decades old, had to be completely refurbished and rebuilt. In order to ensure the long-term future of this housing integration project and to offer the prospect of inclusion to people often living on the streets, the Ministry of Housing offered its support by acquiring the land and including the reconstruction in the "Aides à la pierre" programme.

The project in Michelau therefore consists of rebuilding existing housing on the "Am Wangert" site to create a complex of affordable housing units for very vulnerable people in multiple distress leaving institutions or with a history of homelessness. The aim is to provide long-term, secure and affordable accommodation to enable people to stabilise their situation. This will be followed by professional support to help people develop their potential to become self-sufficient in terms of housing. Supervision will be provided by Caritas Luxembourg's educational and social teams. In terms of the project's development, respect for the site's environmental assets, a modern energy concept and the circular economy are the key principles for the construction, renovation and management of the buildings. The 63.47-acre site will accommodate around 40 homes for 1, 2 or 3 people.

A NEW VILLAGE DISTRICT IN STOLZEMBOURG

In 2021, the Ministry of Housing was also able to acquire the site of a former mill, which had been converted into a campsite along the river Our at Stolzembourg in the municipality of Putscheid. The campsite had been abandoned and the site, with its existing buildings, lends itself to the development of a small neighbourhood in keeping with the village of Stolzembourg and providing a boost to the local public infrastructure. In this case, the land will be made available by the State so that the Fondation Cécile Ginter can develop housing and community facilities that will subsequently be managed by Caritas Luxembourg.

The main purpose of the "Muehlenpesch" project in Stolzembourg is therefore to create a housing complex for affordable rental for individuals and families in need, as well as several units for community housing, or even shelters, for unaccompanied minors (UAMs) and/or young adults. Some of the existing buildings will be integrated into the project, providing space for a range of activities designed to foster internal community life, but also to create and maintain social links with the outside world, particularly with the residents of the village.

It is also a project for social inclusion through housing. Families living in affordable rented accommodation can provide their children with a stable, healthy and peaceful place to live. Young people (aged 18-26) will have the opportunity to experience independent housing and complete their training to enter the first job market. Unaccompanied minors will be able to complete their schooling and, when they leave the shelter, they will have the option of staying on the site. The plan is to build a total of around 18 units of different sizes and types, including community accommodation for young people.

Supervision will be provided by Caritas Luxembourg's educational and social teams.

 

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